Tag Archives: Gilad Shalit

Walk on by: Tea and cake with Noam Shalit

Strolling up Jerusalem’s Rechov Aza (Gaza Street) with Stuey and Dexxy last Wednesday teatime, I passed a tent which (from news coverage) I immediately recognised  to be that set up by the family of Gilad Shalit.

Expecting only to find a handful of hard core activists inside – perhaps students and/or OAPs with too much time on their hands – I was amazed to see a seated Noam Shalit, the father of the kidnapped Israeli soldier.

I was taken aback. And seeing Mr. Shalit in the flesh for the first time brought home to me – in a way that none of the “Free Gilad” campaigns could or, indeed, have (see Why Gilad must not be freed “at any price”) – the desperation of a parent to be reunited with his child.

I continued walking past the banners unfurled across the perimeter walls of the Prime Minister’s official residence (outside which the protest tent was set up in March 2009) – including one showing that the 24-year old had been in captivity for a staggering 1,641 days (he was captured on June 25, 2006) – but wondered whether it would be more menschdik to pop in and pay my respects. After all, doing nothing is easy; and this was the very least I could do.

Noam Shalit at the offending table

So, having made an about turn, I nervously entered the tent and, finding myself face to face with Mr. Shalit, reverted – as I always do under the slightest pressure (though usually under rather different circumstances, chatting up totty on Rothschild) – to my mother tongue, babbling some incoherent platitudes at him. (I have always been crap at the shiva visit. And while this is not a shiva house, it very much has the feel of one.)

Mr. Shalit looked up at me with the tired expression of the mourner. And his English was much poorer than I would have imagined, after years of interviews by the foreign press.

“Are you here a lot?” I enquired of him, enunciating each word as if for the hearing impaired.

“I live here,” came the terse reply.

“Oh,” I said. Derrr. I had missed that nugget.

“Anyway,” I continued, desperate suddenly for the exit, “I just wanted to say that I hope Gilad gets released soon.”

But before Mr. Shalit had finished mumbling a cursory “Thank you,” Dexxy was up on the visitors table, swiping a large, particularly inviting-looking slice of chocolate cake off it.

My host looked even less pleased than usual.

“Err, sorry, Mr. Shalit,” I muttered, reverting to naughty Hasmo boy mode, all the while trying – and failing – to wrest the cake from Dexxy’s jaws.

And then I was out of there.

Even with the best of intentions, it is sometimes wisest just to keep on walking.

As though chocolate cake wouldn't melt in her mouth


Dirty seamen stain Dunkirk weekend

“It does exactly what it says on the tin.”              

So proclaims an advertising slogan for woodstain, which has entered UK popular culture to describe anything that is exactly as it appears or claims to be.              

The slogan could not apply less to the two major nautical events of this weekend: on the one hand, the ceremony marking the anniversary of a sea “evacuation”; and, on the other, the anticipated arrival of the variously named “aid”, “freedom”, “peace”, even “blockade-busting”, flotilla.               

No, don’t be fooled by “what it says on the tin”.              

It is 70 years since the Dunkirk evacuation, when 340,000 Allied soldiers were rescued from the French beaches and advancing German armies in the early stages of World War Two. While unquestionably a retreat, the bravery of the seafaring rescuers in their convoy of “little ships” – enabling Good to fight, and to triumph over Evil, another day – established the term “Dunkirk spirit” in the British lexicon.               

The Miracle of Dunkirk

A considerably less heroic convoy of seamen – a stain on this special weekend – are due to arrive in Israeli waters today, under the guise of helping the poor, besieged Gazans . . .              

The same poor, besieged Gazans who gave a party of Islamofascist terrorists – whose raison d’être is the destruction of Israel no less than Hitler’s was that of the Jews – the majority of seats in their parliament.            

The same poor, besieged Gazans whose government has been holding a kidnapped Israeli soldier for four years, in complete contravention of international law, and bombarding Israeli civilians with rockets for over double that time.            

And, yes, the same poor, besieged Gazans who fill their children’s heads with vile anti-Semitic propaganda that would make Goebbels blush.          

Gaza flotilla, bearing Turkish and Palestinian flags

Even if you are troubled by these poor, besieged Gazans not being able to get their hands on a Kit Kat (couldn’t give a f*ck myself), make no mistake: this is neither a “humanitarian” mission, nor any of the other things written “on the tin” . . . but a dirty propaganda war – at least partially sponsored by the sickeningly hypocritical Turks, among the worst human rights abusers the world over – aimed purely at delegitimising Israel.         

As for the participants, they are an ignoble collection of agitators who – unlike the heroic Dunkirk veterans – have absolutely no concept of Good and Evil, being motivated purely by hatred of Jews. How else can one explain their obsession with Israel to the exclusion of all else?

And, be in no doubt, if the boot was on the other foot, Hamas would drown every last one of them.              

Kus ima shelahem ! כוס אמא שלהם

Why Gilad must not be freed “at any price”

The thoughts of all Israelis (and Jews), both ‘left’ and ‘right’, must surely go out to Aviva and Noam (below) Shalit – the parents of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit – following the failure of this week’s talks, in Cairo, to obtain his release.

Noam Shalit

Israel was ‘only’ willing to release 325 Palestinian prisoners for Shalit – who will spend his one thousandth day in captivity this Saturday – and not the further one hundred or so demanded by Hamas, but deemed by Israel to be too dangerous and/or to have too much blood on their hands.

Even by its dubious standards, today’s (left-wing) Ha’aretz newspaper contained a ridiculously simplistic, not to say nonsensical, piece of supposed “Analysis” (full article):

there is a price, and if you are not willing to pay it, then in reality, you oppose freeing Shalit . . . This price is reasonable . . . It does not undermine our strength or our existence. It will not change the balance of power between us and them . . . Israel has always released hundreds and thousands of prisoners in exchange for a mere handful. After all, we currently hold some 12,000 prisoners, while they have only one. Yet they are not demanding that we exchange all 12,000 for him.

Well, thank you very much! Try telling that to the parents of a victim of a Hamas massacre, whether at the Passover Seder in Netanya’s Park Hotel (30 dead), Tel Aviv Dolphinarium (21), on Jerusalem’s Number 18 buses (45), in its Machane Yehuda market (16), Sbarro restaurant (15), Café Moment (11), or Hebrew University cafeteria (9).

It is the release of the men responsible for these atrocities (and various others) which constitutes Ehud Olmert’s “red line” . . . one which, I believe, he is right not to cross. (A Google search of the author of today’s piece, Nehemia Shtrasler, shows him to be a regular contributor to The Guardian. Quel surprise!)

Like a rat, Hamas preys on weakness. And that rat knows very well how highly we Jews – so unlike it – value the individual, human life, and our responsibility towards our sons and brothers. Even ignoring the legal, moral, and immediate security considerations of releasing these murderers – how many more Israelis would they slaughter? – giving in to Hamas’s outrageous demands is to invite further kidnappings, not just of Israeli soldiers, but of Israelis and Jews the world over.

So, whilst my heart goes out to the Shalits – if I were in their (unthinkable) shoes, I would also be pressing our Government to meet all of Hamas’s demands (and soon) – it is the responsibility of the State to to take a wider, and more detached, view.

Death of Harold Pinter: One Less Uncomfortable Jew

I, for one, won’t be spending a second mourning the death of Harold Pinter, the English Nobel Laureate playwright, who died of cancer on Wednesday, aged 78.

Pinter, a Hackney-born Jew, was an outspoken critic of Israel, quoted as saying that “Israel’s injustice to the Palestinians is an outrage” and “the central factor in world unrest”. He championed Israeli traitor Mordechai Vanunu, and signed a boycott of Israeli products and tourism.

harold-pinter6Pinter liked to portray himself as an original thinker and critic of accepted ideas, but, to my mind, he was anything but. A Jew by birth and no more, Pinter was a puppet of the trendy, Israel-loathing, intellectual left, who was happy to use his birthright and fame – and to be used – to inflict maximum PR damage on Israel and, as a consequence, on Jews the world over.

If Pinter, or any of his fellow signatories to Jews for Justice for Palestinians and Independent Jewish Voices, would have spoken out against Palestinian terror outrages, called for an end to the perpetual bombardment of Israeli towns, and for the release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, with the same vigour and intensity that they have criticised conditions in Gaza (which the Palestinians have, to a large extent, brought upon themselves), one might have taken him and them more seriously.

To label Pinter and his ilk self-hating Jews is not to say that they are Jew-haters. There is a difference. They are Jews, clearly so uncomfortable in their own skins, that they continually go out of the way to be accepted by the non-Jewish “Establishment”. To prove to anybody who will listen that they are “not like all the others” (and not represented by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Chief Rabbi). That they are different. Better even.

And, as a Jew who could not be prouder of his heritage, of which the State of Israel is an intrinsic part, they have always sickened me to the very core (I belong to a third, hybrid category, if you like: self-hating Jew haters). These Jews do more damage to their own than the Ken Livingstones and George Galloways of this world ever could.

Moreover, Pinter’s rabble-rousing diatribes against the US (“a bloodthirsty wild animal”), its administration (“a bunch of criminal lunatics”), and George W. Bush (“a mass murderer”) – and even against his own Britain (“pathetic and supine”) and Tony Blair (“a deluded idiot” and “hired Christian thug”) – were far from what one would expect from a winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, and rather more akin to the crude rantings of an East End barrow-boy.

Pinter’s widow, Lady Antonia Fraser, has said “He will never be forgotten.”

He will be by me.


Sheinkin Street, in the heart of Tel Aviv, is arguably the most common symbol of secular, modern Israel, with trendy youngsters from all over the country converging on its chic boutiques every Friday morning. Even Sheinkin, however, could not have been prepared for what it witnessed yesterday evening.

Whilst out with my dogs, I noticed a man of about forty slowly walking down the street in a pair of tightish, silky running shorts, while two teenage girls, sitting on a wall, laughed hysterically. I then noticed (one couldn’t help but) that – how should I put it – the man was in a heightened state of arousal. Having passed the girls, he turned around and walked past them once again. There was something so sickening about the display that it shook even me – with my background in criminal defence law (and the various perverts to whom I was unavoidably, excuse the pun, exposed) – to the very core. I looked for a police officer, but to no avail.

Following such a distasteful experience, I wouldn’t have imagined that anything else could have disturbed my equilibrium further yesterday evening . . . until I opened my copy of Ha’aretz, that is.

Ha’aretz is Israel’s equivalent of The Guardian – left-wing, (supposedly) highbrow, and often unjustifiably self-righteous. I read the English version rather than its right-wing competitor, The Jerusalem Post, not because I share its political and social leanings (I am somewhere in-between the two), but because it feels more genuinely ‘Israeli’. Reading The Jerusalem Post is often like reading Britain’s parochial Jewish Chronicle . . . and I didn’t come here for that.

The next perversion to disturb my post-work tranquility was the reason (as reported by Ha’aretz) of Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas leader in Gaza, for the movement’s boycott of talks with rival West Bank faction, Fatah, scheduled to begin in Cairo yesterday. He is apparently protesting the 400 Hamas activists held in West Bank jails. Is this the same Ismail Haniyeh who has been holding Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, now 22, for 869 days?!

And did even one of the eleven European parliamentarians – including, I am ashamed to say, nine from the British Isles, among them former cabinet minister, Clare Short – who had sailed from Cyprus to Gaza, as a show of solidarity to Gazans, pick Haniyeh up on this? You can bet not. They probably just lapped it all up, the muppets that they are.

The final perversion, and somehow the most sickening, lay in wait, somewhat surprisingly, on Ha’aretz’s sports page. In a self-indulgent article on his participation (who cares?!) in last weekend’s Tel Aviv half marathon, Palestinian Affairs correspondent, Avi Issacharoff, juxtaposed Tel Aviv’s “beautiful and young” with those in “Jerusalem where everyone looks nervous, ugly and old”. In its mindless intolerance and offensiveness (not to mention stupidity) – in relation to the population of an entire city, no less (a third of whom are Muslims . . . I am sure he wouldn’t have wanted to offend them) – this resembled something out of Der Stürmer.

Where I do agree with you, however, Mr. Issacharoff, is in your conclusion – you are, indeed, “an idiot” . . . but not because you ran 21 kilometers.